=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === Flour Mills Nigeria recently ramped up its Backward Integration Programme (BIP) in the in-country production of sugar, with the signing of a $300 million deal with the Nasarawa State Government, north-central Nigeria.
At the event which witnessed the presence of the Governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule, his colleague from Borno state, Prof. Umar Zulum and the Governor of Kwara state, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the company disclosed that the project would be located on 20,450 hectares of land.
The project sited at Umaisha Development Area of Toto local council, was expected to commence immediately with land preparation, including surveys and other initial designs, while the plan is to develop up to 15,000 hectares of sugar cane and construction of a sugar mill after preliminary works.
In his remarks, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja, Group Managing Director of the company, Mr. Boye Olusanya, noted that flour mills will embark on construction of schools, recreational facilities and several other amenities as part of its corporate responsibility to its hosts.As of 2019, sugar consumption in Nigeria stood at 1.4 million tonnes, production was at 38,597 tonnes, while the country imported 1.36 million tonnes during the period to augment local production.
Olusanya stated that since 1978, when the company acquired a 10,000-hectare farm in Kaboji, Niger state, it has continued to demonstrate its commitment to harnessing the nation’s resources.The company expressed commitment to the success of the NSMP and sought the backing of the federal ministry of industry, trade and investment as well as the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) by pursuing more enabling policies.
Sule, in his comments, said the agreement was in fulfilment of his earlier promise to push for the industrialisation of Nasarawa during his inauguration two years ago.He explained that the sugar company would stimulate economic activities, generate employment and bring development to the state and advised flour mills to ensure employment opportunities for the people of the state.
The governor revealed that several security agencies are currently located in the local government where the project is being located promising to ensure that persons who will work on the project are secure.Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment and former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, while speaking, lauded the state government for keying into the diversification drive of the federal government.He called on other state governors to emulate Sule in order to make the country self-sufficient, and transform the country to a major exporter of agricultural products.
Abdulrasaq also praised the backward integration policy of the federal government, noting that the state is also expanding its sugar refinery located in Bacita in line with the plan.Zulum, who also spoke at the event, expressed hope that the project would create jobs and economic growth that would support Nigeria as a whole, stressing that insurgency in the north can be traced to poverty and high rate of unemployment.
PROJECTED IMPACT: The partnership will drive investment, create wealth and ensure employment of citizens of the state, as well as transform the state into an investment haven where industries are easily set up and run efficiently.